If you are a regular reader of the iQmetrix blog, you know we talk a lot about the in-store experience, specifically, how to survive in a time when customers have everything at their fingertips.
Not only is the entire retail landscape in the palm of the consumer’s hand, but it is also quickly becoming the preferred method of shopping. Mobile e-commerce shopping— that is. According to a recent study, 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months.
I’m not saying that brick-and-mortar retail as we know it is going away; quite the opposite in fact. In the same study, a reported 80% of shoppers said they used a mobile phone inside of a physical store to either look up product reviews, compare prices, or find alternative store locations.
As a self-proclaimed laggard and curmudgeon when it comes to change, I still see myself going to physical stores, now and in the future. However, what I can admit is the in-store experience I have become accustomed to will change quite drastically.
Some pioneers in retail are driving these changes. These retailers understand the landscape is changing and have taken steps to adapt to improve their bottom line in the face of heavy competition from online retailers such as Amazon.
But who are these retailers who have “steered into the skid”, so to speak, and have embraced technology to stay relevant in this ever-changing retail landscape?
Surprise, surprise! A technology company is succeeding at in-store technology. Sure, they are using innovative technology, but they extended their brand presence by dropping branded kiosks into wireless retail stores. Combined with drop ship functionality, the kiosks allow them to showcase their entire product offering from a single screen. This helps to ensure sales opportunities aren’t missed.
Named in Fast Company’s Top 50 Most Innovative Companies 2017, Home Depot has trained their in-store staff to use handheld devices which act as custom smartphones. The phones aid them in searching a massive product catalog to assist customers with in-store searches or delivery orders. Their investment in this and other technologies helped make 2016 the most profitable year in the company’s history.
AT&T launched its Online Experience Store, a physical store that allows customers to not only purchase products and services but to experience a digital storefront featuring a 3D shopping model, interactive demonstrations, and tutorials.
The recently launched Innovation Lab based in San Francisco, produces creative beauty tools like Sephora Virtual Artist, which allows customers to test products virtually. Although these are isolated to the Innovation Lab, it is only a matter of time before this type of technology exists across the entire Sephora fleet, and other retailers follow suit.
These are just a few brands vying for the in-store technology throne and it still remains unclear which retailers or even which technology will win the game. It is, however, clear that in-store technology will have to create great in-store experiences if brick-and-mortar retailers want to survive.
Searching for further survival tips? Grab our Survival Guide for Wireless Retailers below.